Tag Archives: blogging

My First Blogger Meetup

I had so much fun last night!

After work, Michelle picked me up at the house (in full dating fashion) to head down to Matteo’s for our first blogger meet up. Matteo’s is a family-style Italian restaurant on International Drive (and was Nelore previously for those of you in the Orlando area.)

Michelle and I arrived a little after 6:00pm and the parking lot was empty. So, we did what any normal girl would do. We sat in the car for 15 minutes, took self-portraits, and waited to go in so we didn’t look like stalkers being the first ones there.  

Michelle checked her Tweets to make sure the meetup wasn’t canceled. If it was cancelled, we were going to get drunk and cry and hold each other all night.

After about 15 minutes, we still didn’t see anyone we stalked online knew, so we went in and ordered a drink.

I have to say, we were pretty nervous to meet all our fellow bloggers! Michelle and I have read several of the lady’s blogs for awhile now, so it was like meeting celebrities to us. 🙂

Thank you Three Olives grape vodka and soda for relieving me of that nervousness.

The food at Matteo’s was DELICIOUS.

Michelle and I started with a salad. I don’t see the name online, but it was a spring mix with goat cheese, Craisins, walnuts, with a raspberry vinaigrette (on the side). Amazing.

Then we had the Burned Vegetables. Sounds strange…but it was the JAMMY JAM. I didn’t get a picture because it was eaten too fast, but picture vegetables. Then picture them burned.

If I see Matteo’s describe those veggies as the JAMMY JAM on their menu, I’m suing for copywrite infringement.

For our main course, we shared the Grilled Colossal Shrimp Matteo served over primavera vegetables.

These veggies were drenched in all sorts of oil and butter, but it was so fresh and nom-tastic. (New word. Use it!) I would definitely recommend this place. Great food and great service. The waiters even offered our 10-top table a drink on the house afterwards but we declined since we didn’t want to look like alcoholics in front of each other just yet were driving.

This is the first time I’ve ever gone out with a bunch of ladies I didn’t know and I had so much fun. We chatted all night about everything and it felt like we had all been friends for a long time. It was the strangest thing! I can’t wait for the next meet up because it was crazy fun.

Our server, Craig, was kind enough to take a picture of us all. He also made sure to tell us his name started with a C. I’m glad he did, too. I was worried it was spelled “Kraig.”

If you don’t already read these ladies blogs, you should check them out.

From left to right:  my buddy Michelle from Crazy Running Legs, MomJovi (best blog name evaar), Me!, Christine from Cook the Story, J from J’s Everyday Fashion, Katy Widrick, Jamie from Work Your Closet, Julie from Peanut Butter Fingers, Colleen (and possibly my new drinking buddy) from Lady Ballers, and Bess from Central Florida Top 5.

After dinner, Michelle dropped me off at home and I went back out to meet up with my friend Morgan at the Wine Bar in Baldwin Park.

Morgan is in town from Reno for one night. Today, she drives to Tampa to try on her wedding dress right before heading back home. Morgan is getting married next year, so I’m saving my pennies for the festivities. 🙂

Fun fact:  Reno is in my top 5 list of places I would like to move to in the U.S. I just LOVE that town. So, maybe one day I will pack up the hubs and the bunny and head out there.

Tonight, I have a workout with the personal trainer and then a 4:45am wake up call for the first run with my marathon training group Saturday morning. We’re running 10 miles. No need to ease us into it. Good Lawd. I can’t wait to see how it goes!

Not the waking up part. That won’t go well.

If you could live anywhere, where would you choose? (I also love Seattle and San Diego (which is close to my family.)

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Why I Blog

About six months ago, I started my blog and I started it for several reasons:

  • To keep my family that I don’t see or talk to often updated on what I’m up to.
  • It sounded fun.
  • To talk about running. (I talked about it with my hubs a little too often and he would get a glazed look in his eyes each time. I think the wall looked more interested in what I was saying.)

When I first started my blog, I was reading only one blog. Since then, I read a lot more. I checked the number of blogs in my Reader today – there are 66. Please tell me someone out there has that many, because I thought that was crazy.

Anyway, here are the reasons I continue to blog:

  • Blogging is fun. I love talking about running and I love making people laugh. (Even when it backfires and you all think I really wore that belt with the hands from my last post.)
  • I love when my Aunt Mary tells me she loves my blog because it’s like following a celebrity she knows personally.
  • I love when my brother tells me to keep it up because he actually laughs out loud sometimes at what I write.
  • I love when my friend at work stops me in the hallway and tells me that he and his wife love reading my blog.

Not only do I like writing, but I like that others get enjoyment out of what I write.

Now, here are some facts about my blog:

  • I get the fewest site views and comments on posts about TV and movies. But I continue to write those posts anyway because *I* love talking about TV and movies.
  • I get the fewest comments on the S!#t My Husband Draws posts and have no clue if the majority of my readers even like those posts. But I do them anyway because my husband is freakin’ funny and his drawings make me, a couple friends, and my mom laugh.

Having readers besides friends and family is the bonus of blogging. I love and appreciate that others  take the time to read what I write when there are a billion other blogs they could choose from. So, a big thank YOU to my readers.

I see a lot of bloggers ask their readers what they want from their blog (I’m assuming so they can tailor their content). I am definitely as interested as the next blogger in what blog readers think and want. I mean, every blogger wants more readers and more commenters (a blog wouldn’t be public if they didn’t).

So this leads me to a question:  Do you think tailoring content to reader requests is a way to generate traffic instead of blogging what you really care about? (I’ve thought about asking the “what do you want” question but I’m afraid the answer will be something I don’t want to write about. So I stay ignorantly blissful and keep writing what makes me smile.)

Also, why did you start blogging? (if you do, that is)

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Blogger vs WordPress

No pretty pictures here. Just a post about blogging. So, visit me tomorrow if this isn’t your thing. 🙂

As most of you should know, I’ve recently switched from a free account at Blogger to a paid account at WordPress (that’s the new look of the site!). There are a few reasons I did this.

  1. I like the ability to be able to comment directly on your comments instead of the comment showing up at the end of the string. 
  2. I like having “blogspot” out of my URL, however, it seems I could have done this over at Blogger too. I just didn’t see (or search hard enough for) the option.
  3. I was enticed by all the comments I’ve heard about more options in the way of templates and what you can have on a page, and how WP is just more dynamic.

 Lately, I’ve been wondering if the switch was worth it.

I blog because I enjoy it. I like sharing with you and making you laugh (or maybe you’re crying, but that’s an emotion…so I’ll take it!)  Plus, you guys are the only ones that will listen to me ramble on about running. (You hear that hubs, THEY listen!) Recently my frustrations with WordPress are making my blogging less enjoyable. So, I just wanted to air my frustrations in case anyone else was thinking of making the switch.

Note: These observations are just that, observations. They are not based on any research I’ve done on pros and cons. Although, I did see some good ones out there tonight.

Blogger Pros:

  • Without any blogging experience, I was able to intuitively set up my account and make my first post without a problem.
  • Blogger constantly auto saves a draft.
  • Inserting images is insanely easy.
  • I liked having a followers list. Call me crazy, but when I see my followers comment on someone else’s blog, I think it’s awesome because I almost feel like I know them because I talk to them every day. I guess my followers list gives me more of a sense of community.
  • I liked the dashboard. It was easier for me to read your blogs through it.

Blogger Cons:

  • I wasn’t a fan of most of the templates.
  • Blogger needs more options, like to be able to subscribe to posts through email.
  • I’ve had my Blogger “new post” page go down, while everything else still worked.

 

WordPress Pros:

  • I like my theme better and the options with page layout.
  • My site hits are way up. I can’t see that this has anything to do with switching, but it’s just an observation.
  • I can see how many hits have come from a particular site (and not just that traffic came from that site).
  • Tech support seems pretty fast.
  • I have blogging friends that use WordPress, love it, and have no problems.

WordPress Cons:

  • With experience at Blogger under my belt, I had so many set up problems that I had to have a friend log in and set up part of my site.
  • Inserting images is always a problem. Several times, I’ve lost entire posts by inserting a graphic – and the posts were saved drafts.
  • WP inserts every image at the top of the post, and I have to move it to the correct spot.
  • WP inserts junk code into my posts which creates tons of formatting issues.
  • My images aren’t as large. This may or may not be a theme issue.
  • I had to contact WP support because images wouldn’t upload. (To WP’s credit, they fixed it within a few hours with just an email from me.)

 

I did have a few friends tell me that WordPress wasn’t as intuitive as Blogger, but I didn’t think I’d have this many issues. It’s frustrating.

Have any of you had experience with both Blogger and WordPress? What do you think about one or both of them? Are you having the same problems I am?

Switching back now seems like a bad decision.  You can only expect your readers to flip flop so many times, but I can’t say that I’m not tempted.

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